Women's Paid Work and Intimate Partner Violence: Insights from Tanzania

Seema Vyas, Jessie Mbwambo, Lori Heise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Theoretical and empirical research provide conflicting views on whether women who do paid work are less at risk from violence by an intimate partner in low- and middle-income countries. Economic household-bargaining models propose increased access to monetary resources will enhance women's “agency” and hence their bargaining power within the household, which reduces their vulnerability to intimate-partner violence. Feminist theorists also argue, however, that culture, context, and social norms can impede women's ability to access and benefit from employment. This study uses semi-structured interviews conducted in 2009 to explore the implications of paid work among women market traders in Dar es Salaam and Mbeya, Tanzania. While in this sample, informal-sector work did not result in women being able to fully exercise agency, their access to money did have a positive effect on their lives and reduced one major source of conflict and trigger for violence: that of negotiating money from men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-58
Number of pages24
JournalFeminist Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bargaining power
  • Tanzania
  • employment
  • gender relations
  • violence against women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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